Friday, October 15, 2010

DISABILITY DISPUTE: Centralia advocate responds to news accounts

COLUMBIA, 10/14/10  (Beat Byte) --  Responding to reports about his Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) disability complaint against a Centralia restaurant, John Hinten (left) took issue with several facts reported in the Centralia Fireside-Guard.   A Columbia Heart Beat story likened the dispute to an accessibility controversy over a dinner train scheduled to run between Columbia and Centralia. 
"I find it curious my name gets used, but no one bothered to contact me for a balanced story," Hinten said.
JR's Diner owner Jodie Roberts, the Fireside-Guard reported, was facing a nearly $6,000 bill for a disability access ramp and electronic door opening system.  
"This is nonsense," Hinten told the Heart Beat.  Most electronic door conversion kits, he explained, run between $1,400 - $2,000 installed.   And cheaper alternatives are plentiful.  "The numbers do not add up, which can only mean either Ms. Roberts has not actually checked on cost or she exaggerated to gain public sympathy," said Hinten. 
Reports that Roberts never spoke with Hinten are also erroneous, he explained.  "In March 2009 and again in Sept. 2009, I spoke to her on the phone and the topic of the entrance came up," Hinten said.  "She told me she just rents the building and it wasn’t her problem." 
Finally, Hinten emphasized that Federal law provides tax credits for ADA compliance available for small businesses with annual revenues of $1,000,000 or less; or 30 or fewer full-time employees.   Quoting Section 44 of the Federal Tax Code, the maximum $5,000 tax credit can offset the cost of accessbility improvements; Braille, large print and audio tape; and hiring a sign language interpreter. 

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